Local support for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommendation that all school buses be equipped with seat belts has been gaining traction countrywide. The NHTSA safety belt push is a reversal from past recommendations. “We want everyone to be riding safely and securely at all times, whether they are in a car or on the school bus,” said one South Carolina program coordinator at Safe Kids Upstate. However, the seat belt requirement may be at odds with how districts want to go forward with the proposal. The South Carolina Dept. of Education, for instance, said they have no plans as of yet to install seat belts on buses. “We always follow state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to school bus safety. Our number one priority is to keep our children safe and we'll work with state lawmakers and buses that meet all the safety standards,” the district said in a statement. Administrators cite a number of reasons to go forward with the proposal, claiming that to retrofit existing school buses with belts would be costly, with a price tag of up to $20,000 per bus. Currently, school districts are not federally required to have safety belts on school buses that weight more than 10,000 pounds GVWR, but that could soon change.